Monday, October 04, 2004

... the (threat of a) pen is mightier than ... ?

"Look," I said in frustration, "Just please print out the page in your system saying that Kelana Jaya received my submission in early April. I'll just enclose that together with a letter I will write to protest this situation."

Does that sound like a threat to you? certainly not to me! But after almost 30 mins dealing with this hapless Income Tax officer who did not seem to see the inconsistencies in their data that I was pointing out, and was therefore adamant that my submission was late, and that i was therefore liable for that RM100 penalty,,, i was ready to just throw in the towel, pay the penalty under protest, and write one of my legendary feedback letters to LHDN. ... and yet, when the officer came back with the printout, she was singing a totally different tune! Perhaps she didn't want to have a boo-boo highlighted, even though the 'fault' lay with the Kelana Jaya office, not there at Jalan Duta. But hey, to have the officer offering to ask her management's permission to amend my 'received date' .. whoohooo!! I walked out of the tax office feeling like I had won a small victory!

Here's some background on why I made a trip to LHDN this morning:
Early 2004: I received TWO different Borang B: one correct/normal (from Jalan Duta), the other issued by the Kelana Jaya office and having all my details but wrong IC number. The latter was a total surprise to me.
End March: I submitted my assessment (on the ‘correct’ form), and enclosed the ‘wrong’ form, pointing out to LHDN the wrong IC and asking them to investigate why this should happen in the first place.
30 April: Deadline for tax assessment submission.
June 2004: I vist LHDN Jln Duta to ask what’s going on, because I received a letter from Kelana Jaya thanking me for a blank form submission implying no income for last year. Then what HAD happened to my actual submission, book receipts, insurance statements etc? The officer I met said not to worry, they DID have my submission and it was being processed. He also went ahead and ‘deactivated’ the mystery account. Uh huh, there didn’t seem to be any initiative to find out WHY out of the blue Kelana Jaya would create a file on me, with wrong information… I figure, nevermind, it’s their internal business. So far so good, right?
October 2004: Here’s the cruncher. The Borang J arrived, with that surprising RM100 penalty. So off I go to visit LHDN to get to the bottom of this..

And after an extended argument cum discussion with the poor LHDN officer, here’s (probably) what happened:
23rd March 2004: My submission sent (in my records it was sent to Jln Duta… maybe I got my envelopes mixed up and used the one addressed to Kelana Jaya? After all they did send me two different forms with two different return addresses?)
5th April 2004: my ‘package’ received in Kelana Jaya. They stamped ‘received’ on the ‘wrong’ form (which was issued by them and therefore 'theirs') and process it (resulting in the June letter from Kelana Jaya). The ‘correct’ form (which was NOT 'theirs') was set aside to be processed later.
21st May 2004: Kelana Jaya finds my 'correct' form, finally get around to stamping ‘received’ on it, then only do they forward it to Jalan Duta, who of course receive it ‘late’

So: for RM100... Why didn’t the person in Kelana Jaya chop BOTH forms on 5th April 2004?
RM100 isn’t *that* much money, I hear some of you say. Well, firstly, since I am no longer employed of course I do not want to simply throw money at LHDN; and more importantly: I KNOW I wasn’t late so as a matter of principle I want to make sure my record is ‘clear’!

So, as I mentioned above: I walked out of the Income Tax office feeling like I'd won a small victory. Of course the reality remains to be seen lah.. will permission be granted? Will the officer call me back? Well, if I dont hear from them be the end of the year, rest assured that I will send them a letter that I hope will be a non-magic equivalent of a 'howler' as described in the J K Rowling's Harry Potter series!!

Till then, I'll let my $$ sit in my bank account and gather interest just a little bit longer!

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